Best of the Best 2007: Spirits: Bowmore 1968 37 Year Old Islay Malt

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Bowmore 1968 37 Year Old Islay Malt

Islay whiskies, with their assertive peatiness, are made for Scotch lovers only. The showplace of the island is Bowmore, a Suntory-owned distillery that produces a stunning array of fine whiskies, each distinct. Bowmore is one of only five distilleries in Scotland that malts its own barley in the traditional manner, on stone malting floors. Those who would like to observe this process and the rest of the distillery operation can rent one of Bowmore’s five guest cottages, which are located within or adjacent to the distillery complex.

Bowmore occasionally refreshes its core range, as it did recently by introducing square-shouldered bottles and adding a ripe, rich, oloroso-aged 18 Year Old. The distillery also satisfies collectors with yearly releases of rare, limited-edition bottlings. This 1968 37 Year Old was matured entirely in two bourbon casks kept in Bowmore’s seaside vaults. (Consider what you were doing in 1968, assuming that you had been born by then, and you will better understand just how much time this whisky has been in cask.) Bowmore is releasing the malt worldwide in a limited edition of just 708 bottles, each packaged in a serial-numbered, polished black wooden box.

The whisky is at once powerful and ethereal. Complex candied fruit flavors mingle with tropical mango and grapefruit before giving way to traces of Islay’s signature peat and smoke. This is an astounding single malt that collectors should make every effort to obtain.

Morrison Bowmore Distillers
www.bowmore.co.uk ($1,300)

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